Southampton’s woes speak volumes about the FA


Betfair blogger Gareth Freeman feels that Southampton’s woes speak volumes about the FA.

They’re having some weird weather on the South Coast at the moment, it’s
warm and sunny in Portsmouth but minus ten in Southampton… That may not be the
best joke I’ll ever hear but the current plight of the Saints speaks volumes
about the FA and the people who actually run football in England.

Southampton went into administration and the FA ruled they would have to be
given the ten point deduction, despite the fact it wasn’t the football club it
was the parent company.  This is fair enough, the ten point penalty is
there for a reason, but what really annoys me is the way the FA held off the
deduction to see if they were relegated anyway.  This doesn’t seem fair at
all; I don’t really know how the FA can justify that to be honest.

The FA seems to be reacting to the case of Leeds United, who chose to go
into administration when they had already been relegated. They were hit with a
15 point deduction the next season.  For me they didn’t really do anything
wrong, they saw a loop-hole and exploited it, and the 15 point deduction they
received the following season was harsh.  Southampton hadn’t already been
relegated and for me the FA should have just given them the deduction this
season and confirmed their relegation early, it isn’t as if Saints were trying
to cheat the system, they just had financial troubles as many clubs do these
days.

Another club to have been the victim of the FA and its harsh penalties is
Luton Town.  I remember (just) Luton as a top-flight club and it was a sad
day when they were relegated out of the football league.  Hopefully they
club will survive their time in the football wilderness but there are no
guarantees.  In Luton’s case their 30-point deduction basically relegated
them before they had even kicked a ball and I don’t see how this is good for
football or the general competitiveness in the leagues affected by teams with
points deductions.

The one time where the FA had a real chance to make an example was the case
of West Ham fielding ineligible (or illegally owned) players in the Premier
League for an entire season.  If you do that in the FA Cup you get kicked
out of it (as non-league side Droylsdon were) so why does this not happen in
the Premier League?
There are a lot of theories, such as favouritism, money etc, I don’t know so I
don’t want to speculate but it seems harsh on clubs like Southampton, Leeds,
Luton and Rotherham who do get punished by the FA.  I don’t blame West Ham
and I’m glad they’re in the Premier League playing some decent football under
Gianfranco Zola now, but I still can’t help feeling they got away with
it.

For the FA to win back the respect of the football community they need to
clarify their position on such matters.  The clubs that are being punished
with points deductions are those who have suffered financial troubles, not
those who have tried to cheat football as a sport.  I wonder what would
happen to Chelsea and Manchester United if they ever suffer financial
problems?  Both clubs are after all massively in debt and, although it is
highly unlikely, it is not inconceivable that either side could go into
administration.  Should a massive club go into administration I’m betting the FA
would be a lot more lenient than they were with the likes of Southampton and
Luton.